Finding my way back to being fit (again!)

With my fitness and exercise I am either all over it and on top of it or I am not at all into it and I pretty much totally ignore it. I really wanted to keep my fitness up this winter but the dreary weather, the cold and getting sick meant I totally let go of it and, for a few months there I did no exercise and couldn’t have cared less about hitting my daily step goal. I needed to find some motivation to get myself back to the top of my game with fitness and one of the ways that instantly makes me become more motivated is having an event to work towards.

In an effort to get motivated I registered really early for the Walking Stars half marathon and while I haven’t yet registered for the Skechers 12k it is firmly in my mind as an event I am going to participate in. These events are two weeks apart in mid to late November. I hate the thought of not being able to finish an event or losing face so with the powers of these events combined I have managed to make really great progress in the last six weeks getting my fitness and running back on track.

The last two years I have done the Skechers 6k run that’s hosted here in Auckland and I’ve really enjoyed it. Here’s my post wrapping up last years’ event. They have really stepped up their game this year though, and you can choose to do a 6 or 12K run! I was leaning towards sticking with what I knew and doing the 6k run again this year until I heard that if you complete the 12k you get a medal, my mind was made up I wanted the medal and I was doing the 12k.

I registered early for the Walking Stars night-time half marathon this year because last year only having a month to prepare for it was pretty stressful and while I knew I was going to be able to get it done I was pretty nervous about it. Last year I managed to raise over $1000 for The Cancer Society and I will be doing it in my Mum’s honour again this year. Small update from last year she’s in remission from her lymphoma after a pretty tough year of treatment. It will be an absolute pleasure to raise money for The Cancer Society again since they did so much for mum and if you’d like to help me reach my fundraising target my page can be found here.

Once again though I was back at the point of feeling like I was completely unfit and that I was starting from the beginning again. I have committed to slightly more this year and it was a bit daunting. I wanted to start running again but for a couple of weeks before I started I made it my goal just to get more active in general each day and set myself a goal of just reaching my step count. This was a really good way to start off and I noticed small but gradual improvements in how I felt over that couple of weeks.

Then it was time to go for my first run in what had been about six months. I had kept my fitness up for quite a while before winter with Daily Burn and because of the intensity of their programmes I stopped running for a while because I didn’t have time to do both. My first run back was hard. My chest felt like it was on fire. It was hard to walk for a couple of days after, the awful groan every time you stand up kind of muscle soreness. Also when I say ‘run’ especially initially I mean run until I can’t anymore and then walk until I feel like I can run again. Initially it’s about a 50/50 mix of walking and running but at least I’m getting back on the horse right? That first run back set my average pace per kilometre at 7:40 which wasn’t great but, to be honest, wasn’t as bad as I expected either.

I had a revelation last night as I was running and I’m about to make myself sound like a prize idiot. They call it training because if you keep at it and do it regularly you get better as you go! Just like with intellectual learning if you keep pushing yourself you quickly get better and gosh does my body respond well when I make a regular concerted effort. In six weeks I’ve managed to get my average pace per kilometre down to 6:32 and I’m stoked. In the past I’ve struggled to get it down and keep it under 7 minutes a kilometre and this year, already, I’m killing it.

While I had been meaning to do this ages ago I finally downloaded the training schedules for both the Skechers 12k and Walking Stars events and I was happy to figure out I’m ahead of the suggested plan for both events. I just need to keep it up now and all going to plan, I am going to absolutely smash it on race day.

When I started with my intention to get my fitness back up again I eased myself into it and didn’t place too huge expectations on myself to start with. This is easier to do when you start months out from an event and don’t have to try and cram all your training into six weeks to get yourself ready. Once I had got over those first couple of weeks of just trying to up my general activity I added running back in and I have made it my goal to run three times a week which I’ve managed every week but one so far.

I’ve also learnt this year just how quickly my training can come along and that perhaps in the past I didn’t push myself anywhere near as much as I could handle physically. Where before I would start doing 3k runs as I built my fitness back up this time I started with 4.5k. I’ve already got it up to 6k and am doing that easy. The other thing I have been reminded of is just how much I truly enjoy running and how free I feel out there doing my thing.

What things motivate you to pick up your fitness again after a period of letting it slip? Are you like me and find endless motivation from having events to train for or can you find motivation through other means? Also if you have any tips about how you keep yourself motivated through the depth of winter I’m all ears because much as I tell myself I’m not going to abandon my fitness over winter once again it happened this year. Comment below and let me know what drives you I’d love to know!

If you want to join me in either of the events I mentioned here’s the links again:

Skechers 6 and 12k

Walking Stars Night-time Half Marathon

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